The AutoCad computers allow students to plot out projects with accuracy before actually building them. The computer applies the angles and math to the specifications of the students and then prints out a full size pattern.
"With this, there is no trial and error," said Shimak. "We know a project will work before we begin. It takes all the drudgery out of drawing out the project to scale on graph paper."
According to Shimak, the procedure is also much more precise than the former method. The AutoCad is accurate within a hundreth of an inch and also has an infinite color range. Shimak says that with use of these patterns, project pieces fit much more tightly together, and students need only use glue to secure them. This has allowed for students to successfully create more elaborate designs than in the past.
"Easily 85 percent of my students use the AutoCad for their projects," said Shimak. "The demand for it is phenomenal. I've had students go on to school and be offered four jobs before they finish their two–year program just because they had used this program in high school."
The business department also was improved this year through the purchase of 20 new Gateway computers. The computers are used for Becky Hoey's business simulation and desktop publishing classes.
"I'm very, very happy with the computers," said Hoey, who did much of the decision making in the buying process. "We had bids from four companies, but the Gateway computers were the best and came at a low price, so we went with them." Her choice was approved by both Danith Clausen and John Janotta.
"I think it is important for students to be using computers that they will actually use in the real world, which is why we went with Gateway instead of the new I–Macs," added Hoey.
Hoey said that yearbook production, done in Desktop Publishing, is going much more smoothly this year with the new computers. The computers also allow her to do more with Business Simulation, because they can run a better office program.
The upgrades were part of a cirriculum review cycle which allows school departments to make additional improvements upon their resources. Departments are able to request purchases which are above their typical budget. This was the year for vocational departments to make these additional purchases.
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